The editors of Mcphee acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of our land – Australia. We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the place in which we work which we now call Sydney and we acknowledge the Wodi Wodi of the Yuin Nation as the traditional custodians of our home town of Nowra.
McPhee is a collaboration between three old school friends with an eye on today's art world and a heart for its past. Named in memory of the late Mrs Barbara McPhee, our infamous high school art teacher, McPhee is co-edited by Tara Marynowsky, Bonnie Porter Greene and Rob Maconachie.
Barbara McPhee taught art to students of Nowra High School from the 1960s until her retirement in the early 2000s. A stringent disciplinarian, passionate modernist and no-nonsense horsewoman, she has remained a memorable if not ominous figure for the generations of budding artists and future art world professionals who passed through her classroom.
Mrs McPhee was old, weather-beaten and tough as nails like the Quentin Blake illustrations in Roald Dahl stories. Her clothes were sensible, her grey hair always in a bun and she had an unusual bent index finger which, when thrust towards an accused student would result in utter confusion and mayhem as no one was quite sure to whom the finger was actually pointing. In this way almost every kid endured being kicked out of class - nose against the wall in the corridor, totally shamed. To us her disciplinary methods seemed extreme. She was not to be messed with, but it was here we first learnt about art.
"Brancusi", "Mondigliani", "Whiteley", "Brack", "Nolan" were names first heard spoken by her; the more exotic sounding surnames of the Modern European Masters tumbling from her age-worn lips like precious turtle eggs. Other senses were also stimulated which earned her the unfair monicker, "Metho Breath."
Mrs McPhee may have been tough, but she was our first introduction to the possibilities that can emerge from making, looking at and discussing art. We would like to thank her for inspiring us and dedicate these pages to her memory.